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Poster: fenario80 Date: Jun 26, 2009 7:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12 Stepper Confession (Dead related)

This is the oddest thread, so I can't tell if I'm going off-topic or not, but I went through detox/rehab/halfway at the age of 23 in the summer of 1986, spending a total of four months and one week in various facilities, courtesy of the federal government, the county of Los Angeles, and some truly wonderful people who supported a private halfway house in Hollywood, and almost 23 years later I am here to tell you that those awful statistics can be a powerful motivating factor. Like you, I was appalled to learn that most people I met along that journey were "in program" for their second, third, fourth, etc, time, and every time I heard that I said to myself: "not me - there is no fucking way I'm going through this again." Every time they said "over 90% recidivism," I said to myself: "not me."

In three months at a halfway house with a constant population of 24, we kicked out about half a dozen people for various reasons, mostly for using. One of those people was dead within two weeks; another OD'ed and suffered permanent brain damage from the coma that followed. I just kept saying to myself: "not me." The awkward punchline to this story is that almost 23 years later, myself and three other guys, who all finished that program within a couple of weeks of each other, are still standing. I consider myself very lucky that I was still young, full of potential, and there were people who were truly motivated to help me. That gets harder and harder the more broken down you get from your addictions. I also consider myself lucky - and the four of us agree on this - that we saw so much horror in the halfway house: it made us all say to ourselves "not me" a lot.

Again, I consider myself extremely lucky. And even though that summer of 1986 was my one and only formal attempt to "get clean," I had been trying to quit drinking since I was 16 - so the final point I'm trying to make is that everybody is different, and it's much harder for some people than for others, but it's a lot like quitting smoking, in that you should never give up because you never know which attempt is going to be the successful one. There are a lot more people who went through the "revolving door" for years before finally getting there than there are people like me who "get it" the first time. These programs only offer a set of tools that can help: you still have to use the tools, and I personally believe it probably helps to be really stubborn and say "not me" a lot.

To me, that whole notion of "disease," and it being "not your fault" are not about denial but are just tools to break the ugly cycle of guilt/remorse that usually leads to more of the very same offending behavior, so you have to say: "it may not really be my fault that I got here, but it is 100% my responsibility to get myself out of here."

Just to bring this back to Dead-related, I was in Redgate County hospital in Long Beach, CA when the news broke about Jerry's coma. As the weeks went on I kept thinking, "wouldn't that be something if me & the fat man got clean at the same time?" Ah well, at least by all accounts he did last a couple of years that first time ...

Peace out.

This post was modified by fenario80 on 2009-06-26 14:08:06

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jun 26, 2009 6:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12 Stepper Confession (Dead related)

Good job my friend...good story. I'll never recover from what has happened with my family in relation to these issues, and I wish it was a lot easier than it is, but in the end as you make clear, it comes down to personal responsibility.

As a parent and a brother, it's a place you do not ever want to be...

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Poster: fenario80 Date: Jun 26, 2009 7:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12 Stepper Confession (Dead related)

Well I never would have been there myself if it hadn't been for all that early family education ...

And I neglected to underline my last point about the statistics: with 4 of us still standing out of a total 8 or 9 in that "class of November '86" we beat the shit out of those statistics ...